New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) issued an executive order allowing displaced residents to vote by provisional ballot at any polling place in the state for president and statewide office holders.
“We want everyone to vote,” he said. “Just because you are displaced doesn’t mean you should be disenfranchised.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) ordered election authorities to allow displaced citizens to apply for a ballot by e-mail or fax. But the state quickly became swamped with requests, and many voters complained that they did not receive a ballot back or could not reach election clerks’ offices. Officials later said some voters may not receive e-mailed ballots until Nov. 9.
Christie nevertheless insisted that the voting was running smoothly.
“Of our 3,000 polling places across the state, less than 100 were compromised and had to be moved,” Christie said, according to the Newark Star-Ledger. “Everyone should find the time to vote today, but the only people who should be applying for their ballots online are voters affected by the storm. Everyone else, get your butt up and go to your polling place like normal.”
Faced with a nor’easter that is forecast to strike Wednesday, bringing another round of coastal flooding to the Mid-Atlantic and southern New England, New Jersey’s Brick Township issued mandatory evacuation orders for residents in low-lying waterfront areas by 6 p.m. Tuesday. The new storm is expected to pack heavy rains, wind gusts of up to 60 mph and a tidal surge of three to four feet above normal in some areas.
Hurricane Sandy killed 69 people in the Caribbean before colliding with a nor’easter as it struck the New Jersey coast on Oct. 29. The resulting superstorm killed an additional 113 people in the United States and Canada, knocked out power to 8.5 million homes and businesses, devastated seaside communities and flooded New York City’s streets, tunnels and subways.
In some polling stations in New York, the introduction of new digital voting equipment created more of a headache than the storm.
At the Brooklyn Museum, which was largely untouched by Sandy, voters had to wade through a complex tangle of lines to obtain a ballot. Three of the station’s four scanning machines failed, adding an extra hour to the wait.